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Batteries keep going bad.

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by 70monte, Jul 4, 2010.

  1. 70monte

    70monte Senior Member
    Messages: 468

    I need some help figuring out why the battery in my 98 K3500 with the 7.4L keeps going bad. I'm on my third battery since 11-2007 when I bought the truck. I've also put two different alternators in the truck thinking the alternator was messing up somehow. The last time I bought an new AC-Delco reman. The time before that I bought a used one with 54,000 miles on it. The current alternator is putting out between 13.98 and 14.03 volts so it doesn't appear to be a charging issue.

    The first battery lasted about 21 months, the second one about 5 months and this one about 6 months. They don't show any symptoms of going bad per say only that I notice that my volt gauge in the truck starts reading lower and stays fairly low. I then put my tester on it and it says the battery is bad. The current battery is a 800 CCA battery and when I tested it, the tester says its only putting out 166 CCA. The truck still starts good and the lights are bright.

    I'm going to take it back to O'reillys tomorrow and have them test it to make sure but every time in the past after I've tested it, their tester also shows the battery is bad. They sell Super Start batteries which I've heard are not very good. I currently have their very best battery in the truck. I'm going to get a refund and get another brand.

    What brand do you guys recommend and has anyone else ever had problems with Super Start batteries.

    Is there something else on the truck I can check that might be causing the batteries to go bad? My ground wire has been taken off and cleaned and retightened, I replaced the positive side cable that goes to the starter and the alternator with a brand new AC-Delco cable. The cable that goes to the positive side battery post to the underhood fuse box is still original but I can't see anything wrong with it and I've checked the connections on it.

    The batteries never have gone dead or acted like they weren't going to start the truck but something is causing them to go bad.

    Can anyone give me some ideas on what else to check on the truck that could be causing this because its hard for me to believe that I"ve gotten three bad batteries in a row and I don't want to be changing batteries every five or six months. Thanks.

  2. brad96z28

    brad96z28 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,525

    What is the alternator putting out for amperage? I would go with interstate or deka. There are only a few companies that actually make batteries. Dont buy a die hard or should I say die easy.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2010
  3. 70monte

    70monte Senior Member
    Messages: 468

    I don't know how many amps its putting out but its putting out 13.8-13.9 volts at idle. I took the battery back to O'reillys and had them test it and it tested good on two different machines. I brought it back home and retested it with my tester using the charging posts that screw into the connection points and it then tested good and said the same thing the O'reilly testers said. I guess trying to clamp the tester to the end of the cables while they were still attached to the battery gave me a bad reading. I even wiggled the clamps around to make sure they had a good grip.

    O'reillys said that my battery was only 81% charged but when I hooked up my multimeter to the battery, it said it was putting out 12.60 volts, which according to the manual for the multimeter, is 100% charged so I don't know what is correct. My battery tester and the ones at O'reillys said it was only putting out 12.54 volts.

    I will have to test how many amps the alternator is putting out. I guess the gauge inside the truck may be going bad but when I first started the truck up after hooking everything back up, the gauge read right before the 14 mark. When I start driving and everything gets hot, the gauge drops down to halfway between the 9 and 14 mark so I'm probably going to have to try and test the alternater then to see what kind of voltage its putting out.

    I guess I learned that I need to test the battery out of the truck to get an accurate reading. Thanks.


    ps. the Super Start batteries are supposed to be made by deka.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2010
  4. buddymanzpop

    buddymanzpop Senior Member
    Messages: 603

    I had a similar problem on a 2004, started with symptoms like yours then after a while fully charged batteries would last a couple days to a week, finally solved it by disconnecting the negative (ground) cable at the bottom of the engine block and wire brushing the cable eyelet and the engine block and reconnecting it. So far six months and no problems on the same recharged battery. Not saying this is your problem but worth looking at. Good luck.
  5. 70monte

    70monte Senior Member
    Messages: 468

    Thanks, that is one of the first things I did. I've also sprayed Fluid Film on the stud and cable end to try and hold off corrosion for awhile. I will have to test the alternator output when the truck is hot to see if the heat is somehow messing with the charging system.

  6. Mick76

    Mick76 2000 Club Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,157

    My father had a short problem with his 2004. the short was coming from the fuse box itself under the hood...... wasn't a cheap fix.... good luck
  7. mayhem

    mayhem PlowSite.com Addict
    from Peru MA
    Messages: 1,016

    If you've never had a problem with any of the battereis, what makes you think they're going bad? I'm not sure I follow you here. Are you testing your batteris with a handheld tester and replacing them based on your readings even though you have no symptoms of a weak battery? Thats what it sounds like, but I'm not sure.
  8. 70monte

    70monte Senior Member
    Messages: 468

    The symptoms of the two previous batteries was that after a few months, the inside volt gauge would only read about halfway between the 9 and the 14. I then would test the voltage of the alternator thinking maybe it was going out as well as test the battery. I used my handheld tester that tests both. My tester would show the alternator was good and the battery bad. I would then take the truck up to the parts store where I bought the batteries and have them test both systems. On the first two batteries, they tested bad with their testers, showing a bad cell in both of them. The charging system always showed good. After the last battery going bad, I replaced the used alternator with a new Delco reman thinking maybe the alternator had an intermitant problem that wasn't always showing up and ruining the batteries. I also cleaned the mounting point of the negative side cable and bought a new positive side since the Delco battery that was in the truck when I bought it had corroded the positive side cable and I didn't know if maybe the acid had gone down inside it.

    When I would install the new batteries, the volt gauge inside would always be just under or just over the 14 mark so when I saw that this current battery show the same symptoms of the two previous ones, I figured that I was having problems again.

    My two previous batteries that the parts store also deemed bad, did not show any outward signs of being bad such as going dead, slow cranking times, or dim lights. At this point I'm just going to say that my gauge is not working right until I find out different.

    I still don't trust this brand of battery because the first one lasted 21 months before it had a dead cell and the next one only lasted five months before it had a dead cell. Either something in my system is causing this to happen or I'm getting bad batteries.